Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers by Douglas Bond

Each chapter is about a different hymn writer, but also includes some adventure

Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers is the first in a series of four books about Mr. Pipes and two children, Annie and Drew. Mr. Pipes plays the organ in a Church of England parish in Olney, Bedfordshire, England. Annie and Drew are two young American children (about 13 or so) who think they are going to be stuck in Olney for a boring summer whilst their mother pursues her research in a local library. But instead they meet Mr. Pipes, who not only shows them all around the local countryside and a bit of London, but also gives them a once in a lifetime tour of many British hymn writers while instructing them about how good hymns help us to worship and enjoy God.

 

If you are interested in learning about the church and its hymns, its history, its people, and, most of all, about God, Douglas Bond is a must-read author. He writes a variety of fiction and non-fiction for adults and teens (though all of his books are of great benefit to adults) that are focused on helping the reader understand who God is and how we can better worship Him. And does so in a most enjoyable manner that is accessible to readers of all ages.

In this case, Mr. Pipes and the British Hymn Makers is the first in a series of four books about Mr. Pipes and two children, Annie and Drew. Mr. Pipes plays the organ in a Church of England parish in Olney, Bedfordshire, England. Annie and Drew are two young American children (about 13 or so) who think they are going to be stuck in Olney for a boring summer whilst their mother pursues her research in a local library. But instead they meet Mr. Pipes, who not only shows them all around the local countryside and a bit of London, but also gives them a once in a lifetime tour of many British hymn writers while instructing them about how good hymns help us to worship and enjoy God. Each chapter is about a different hymn writer, but also includes some adventure like sailing down the River Great Ouse, hiking to a cave, or visiting the organ in London that Charles Wesley played as he was composing many of his hymns.

My family took full advantage of this book on our trip to the UK last year. We used it as a guide to help us know where different hymn writers were from, focus on a different hymn and hymn writer in each region we visited, and guide our trip to museums about or the homes of some of the hymn writers. We saw Charles Wesley’s organ, visited the home of William Cowper (now the Cowper and (John) Newton (of Amazing Grace fame) Museum) and the John Bunyan (of Pilgrim’s Progress fame) Museum, and sang some wonderful hymns. It turned out that my family (the Peacocks) is originally from Bedfordshire so in addition to seeing the setting of the book we also were able to see the churches where some of my ancestors were baptized, married, and buried.

All of this thanks to Douglas Bond–and God. Our lives and our worship are richer because of his books. Everyone and their children should read them.

Bill Peacock is a member of Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Austin, Texas. This article is used with permission.